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ROUND UP: Sununu and NH GOP State Reps at the Center of Controversy Surrounding Gunstock Closure

Accusations and evidence of corruption roil community with the resort no closer to reopening


CONCORD, NH — More than a week after the senior management team of Gunstock Resort resigned following a campaign of Republican harassment, pressure is mounting on Governor Sununu and woefully incomptent NH GOP state representatives charged with overseeing the park to find a resolution in time to prepare for the busy upcoming ski season.

Far right Republican state representatives this week added to the turmoil by making accusations park management gave taxpayer-funded donations to Governor Sununu. This comes after the Governor called for the resignation of those same state reps. The park management team has requested two members of the Belknap Area Commission to be removed before they return. One member — Peter Ness — resigned Friday afternoon, after intense community pressure. Republican members of the Belknap County delegation — who appoint the commissioners — have tried to keep decision making on changes behind closed doors and made public promises that an upcoming audit will show financial malfeasance on the part of the management team. However, much like the defunding of the Croydon school district, this shutdown was caused by Free State Project Republicans attempting to dismantle yet another New Hampshire institution with no regard for the impact on the broader community. Far-right Republicans drove out management in a months-long process in an attempt to take greater control of the park. During a public comment period at commission meeting, local residents speculated this could be an attempt at self enrichment by members of the Republican commission, who may stand to benefit if the resort is sold to a private resort company. Read more below:

  • InDepthNH: Politicians Feeling The Heat of Gunstock With Elections on the Horizon — Feeling the political heat from constituents in the Lakes Region, legislators are eager to get Belknap County-owned Gunstock Mountain recreation area back in operation saying it is costing jobs, local business revenue, and may adversely impact county taxes. Taking to Twitter, several are also calling for Free Staters such as state Rep. Mike Sylvia, R-Belmont, chair of the Belknap County delegation, to be ousted by voters at the polls this fall.

  • WMUR: Lawmaker criticizes Gunstock Mountain Resort donation to Gov. Sununu's 2020 campaign — At issue is a $500 check from the resort to Gov. Chris Sununu's 2020 reelection campaign that the chairman of the Belknap County delegation called inappropriate by a county-owned property.

  • Laconia Daily Sun: Ness resigns from Gunstock Area Commission — Ness resigned from the meeting at 12:08 p.m., and Strang left the meeting abruptly at 12:10 p.m…. Wood and Lambert shared this news with those gathered at the mountain, also issuing a demand that the delegation stand up and take action by 5 p.m. today. They particularly asked those who had been silent on the matter to take action. Lamber remarked that if Gunstock doesn't open for the season, he believes it to be Strang's fault.

  • NHPR: Gunstock board members face fresh calls to resign; County asks AG to watch resort bank accounts — The mountain’s defenders - including many local residents who said Gunstock’s offerings had improved markedly over the years - said the push for reform was politically motivated and driven by misinformation.

  • Boston Globe: Meeting on future of Gunstock erupts into uproar; resignations demanded — The dispute erupted again Tuesday at what was billed as a nonpublic meeting of the Gunstock Commission to begin the process of replacing just-resigned general manager Tom Day and his team. Instead, Strang and Ness were greeted by a riotous crowd there to support Day and demand that they resign in his stead.